Writer on a Horse
And a Dog

The world looks better from the back of a horse and the roads of life are easier with a good dog beside you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gloom, despair and excessive agony

Several years ago, I attended a SCBWI conference in Birmingham, AL and one of the speakers was Marilyn Edwards, editor/owner of Hopscotch, Boys’ Quest, and Fun For Kidz. She talked about ‘The Fear Factor’ and how to overcome it. Mrs. Edwards told us not to think of rejections as rejection letters but as declining letters.

The word rejection deflates a writer’s ego and self-confidence. Thinking of ‘no thank-you’ letters as declining letters helps to keep our writer’s confidence high
and encourages us to send it somewhere else. We’ve all heard that they’re not rejection us but declining our manuscripts for one reason or another.

Mrs. Edwards said to remember the 5 P’s when submitting, Proper, Preparation, Prevents, Poor, Performance.

I won’t submit because I’m afraid of being rejected. How do I overcome my fear?

1. You need to build confidence that you write material that is worthy of publication. You do this by networking with other writers and joining critiquing groups that not only find faults in your manuscript but also points out the good things. Other writers understand how you feel and are the best remedy for rejection letter fears.
2. Polish your manuscript and study the marketing books so you send it only to publishers that need and want material that your manuscript contains. Now take a deep breath, address that envelope, and submit it. The worst that can happen is they will say ‘no’, but don’t take it personal. file the declining letter away, burn it at midnight while chanting a curse, or simple throw it in the trash and the next day send that manuscript somewhere else.
3. Remember if you don’t submit you will never be published and that is the goal of every writer.

I’ve heard editors say, “Rejections are not personal, it is only business.” My stories are personal to me, how can I change my prospective on my writing?
1. Don’t! You personal prospective is what makes your writing unique. I know from my own experience, I prolong the end of a novel so I don’t have to say good-bye to my characters.
2. Once the book is finished, start another one. Change your focus from the book you’re submitting to the one you are writing. You will find that the rejections hurt just as bad when you’re emerged in a new novel, but you recover faster.
3. Decide if your manuscript is for you own enjoyment or if you really want it published. If it is for your own enjoyment, don’t listen to comments and suggestions on how to improve it. If your goal is publication, take notes and consider every suggestion.

Here are my personal thoughts about rejection letters:
Jolt your imagination
Examine theme and characters
Correct problems
Tackle rewrite
Improve your manuscript
Omit weak sentences
Nothing worthwhile is easy

Proclaim yourself an author! Published or not, if you have manuscripts you have poured blood, sweat and tears into, you are an author.


Anonymous said...

"burn it at midnight while chanting a curse"

Haven't tried that one yet.

meyerprints said...